Ecology of Social Systems

Some days ago I was speaking with my friend Sargon from the Bretton Woods Project and he came out with this idea of the ecology of the social systems. We liked it and tried to elaborate a bit.

Just like a natural environment a democratic social system has different subjects playing different roles. There are authorities, in charge for the realisation of one or more common goals (safety, education, health, acceptable living standards, sanitation, financial stability, and so on…). There are individuals, chosing or legitimizing in different ways such authorities. There are social bodies mediating among  the two sides: political parties, NGOs, trade unions, each of them with its specific role, duties, expectations. There are entrepreneurs and companies, producing goods, offering services, creating jobs.

All these form a kind of ecosystem, which should be in balance.

Similarly to what happens in a natural ecosystem, there are natural enemies (or better natural antagonists).  To same extent the conflict is physiological and even healthy: without it, imbalances would produce authoritarian systems, anarchy, or implosion, all kinds of decay.
The same happens in the global arena: international organizations interact with transnational civil society and -at times- suffer for violent critics and even demonstrations which may be healthy if aimed at improving human rights or correcting an authoritarian approach.

We could have the impression, at times, that it is nothing but a huge role-play, or we could claim that some cathegories of subjects are good and other bad. It would be a mistaken perspective. The real villains are those willing to kill the system -i.e. the balance- not those playing their part in it.

Leave a Reply